Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson are 2 Dope Queens (Photo: HBO)

The show to watch

2 Dope Queens

“[I]n its latest move, 2 Dope Queens retains more than just its title. The show also maintains the same warmth, humor, and relevance, as [Phoebe] Robinson and [Jessica] Williams keep on riffing, parsing, and sharing. There are obviously some noticeable changes in this new medium, like relocating to an actual (movie) palace and having Jon Stewart and Sarah Jessica Parker drop by as ‘stagehands.’ But the experience remains as incisive and intimate as that of listening to Robinson and Williams crack jokes through your earbuds, thanks in part to Tig Notaro’s direction of all four episodes. This collection also marks a return for HBO, which has lately been outpaced by Netflix in the comedy special department, but should have its confidence restored by this outstanding addition.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The video game to play

Celeste

Celeste breaks from any of the games that its spike-covered walls and triple-digit death counts conjure comparisons to in one wholly transformative way: its attitude. Rather than letting the provocative nature of its jumping challenges become the center of its personality, Celeste works hard to embrace players and nudge them ever forward.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The comic to read

Fantagraphics’ NOW #2

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“The world of alternative/indie comics is so big that it helps to have a tour guide, and anthologies are a great way of discovering new (or new-to-you) talent through a curated lineup. NOW [is] a quarterly magazine-format comics anthology featuring a wide-ranging roster of international artists. At $9.99 for more than 120 pages, it’s a far better value than most of the ongoing comics on stands. The styles shift wildly over the course of each issue, and [editor Eric] Reynolds has assembled a group of cartoonists who are fiercely confident in their unique approaches to comic book storytelling.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The movie to watch

24 Frames

Photo: Cannes Film Festival

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“What made [Abbas] Kiarostami’s loss so painful was that he was still way out on the cutting edge at age 76, making youngsters look timid by comparison. 24 Frames, his final feature (apparently all but finished when he died), makes previous radical Kiarostami experiments—the dashboard-affixed claustrophobia of Ten (2002); the silent parade of female faces watching another, unseen movie in Shirin (2008); even the mind-bending hall of mirrors that constitutes his celebrated Koker trilogy—seem downright conventional. Kiarostami remained a tireless innovator right up to the end, and it’s fitting that he leaves us with a work so singular as to be almost unclassifiable.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The podcast to listen to

Classroom Crush, “Should We Talk About This? With Sam Fragoso

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“Joining host Rebecca Bulnes this week to talk about formative childhood crushes is Sam Fragoso, a film critic and host of the Talk Easy podcast. Visiting L.A. from Chicago, Bulnes records the episode at Fragoso’s home—and Chicago just so happens to be the setting of his crush story. There’s something extremely satisfying about hearing tales of others’ youthful, romantic embarrassments, not as schadenfreude but rather as a universality. Both Bulnes and Fragoso tell their stories with humor and nostalgia, allowing listeners to also reflect on their own experiences.”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.


The album to listen to

Rhye, Blood

“Now essentially a solo act, Rhye’s music is defined by the mononymous Milosh’s spectral, androgynous vocals, with sighs that play like stringed accompaniment on the low-key funk of ‘Count To Five’ or ‘Phoenix.’ It’s music that rewards close attention—your ears sort of adjust to the quiet on a song like ‘Please,’ until Milosh’s softest whimper lands devastatingly—but just as easily glides by in the background. Taken as a whole, it’s a darker record than its predecessor, but no album this unashamedly beautiful is ever truly depressing. It’s more minimal than The xx, more romantic than the most heartsick R&B, with drums pulled straight from ’70s studio sessions.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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